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Courtney Love talks straight about piracy

By warpeightbot in News
Wed Jun 14, 2000 at 02:53:31 PM EST
Tags: Interviews (all tags)

Salon has a very interesting interview (well, it's not really an interview, more like a rant) from Courtney Love....

Warning, the content is totally unedited and therefore R-rated, but I think it really speaks to the real problem of Napster v. RIAA, and who is really losing out, and her ideas on how to fix it. The woman has acquired a head for the business end of music, courtesy the school of hard knocks, and has decided, the threat of getting blackballed be damned, to go public with the ugly reality of the situation, and to make a very interesting request of us geeks. That's right, she's talking to us.


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Courtney Love talks straight about piracy | 43 comments (43 topical, editorial, 0 hidden)
I can't stand her music, but this s... (2.00 / 1) (#2)
by fluffy grue on Wed Jun 14, 2000 at 12:24:10 PM EST

fluffy grue voted 1 on this story.

I can't stand her music, but this song I can definitely groove to. ;)
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]

Even though it's been on that other... (2.00 / 1) (#10)
by iCEBaLM on Wed Jun 14, 2000 at 12:41:22 PM EST

iCEBaLM voted 1 on this story.

Even though it's been on that other news site it's still a very good speech, I was very impressed.

I think this is the most lucid stat... (3.00 / 1) (#5)
by avdi on Wed Jun 14, 2000 at 12:56:07 PM EST

avdi voted 1 on this story.

I think this is the most lucid statement of the artist's perspective of Napster v. RIAA I've seen, and it deserves to be read as widely as possible. BTW, it's not an interview or a rant, it's a transcript of a speech.

Now leave us, and take your fish with you. - Faramir

Third time I've seen it today - on ... (1.00 / 1) (#15)
by Mephron on Wed Jun 14, 2000 at 12:57:14 PM EST

Mephron voted 1 on this story.

Third time I've seen it today - on the NetSlaves list and on the Other Place. What the heck... might as well get more people reading it.

Man, this hurts. That's SUCH a good... (3.00 / 1) (#3)
by pwhysall on Wed Jun 14, 2000 at 12:59:36 PM EST

pwhysall voted -1 on this story.

Man, this hurts. That's SUCH a good link, and SUCH a bad writeup. What's your take? What do you think? Is it important? This is not Dump The Story, this is Reimplement The Writeup.
K5 Editors
I'm going to wager that the story keeps getting dumped because it is a steaming pile of badly formatted fool-meme.

Re: Man, this hurts. That's SUCH a good... (none / 0) (#36)
by StatGrape on Thu Jun 15, 2000 at 11:09:46 AM EST

Try this.

[ Parent ]
I would normally vote this -1 becau... (1.00 / 1) (#6)
by SgtPepper on Wed Jun 14, 2000 at 01:27:10 PM EST

SgtPepper voted 1 on this story.

I would normally vote this -1 because it's on TOS, but it was in a quickie, and it /IS/ important for alot of people to read this article. My respect for Courtney shot up after reading this. +1 because it is vital

This is the clearest explanation I'... (4.00 / 1) (#12)
by Erbo on Wed Jun 14, 2000 at 01:42:25 PM EST

Erbo voted 1 on this story.

This is the clearest explanation I've seen in quite awhile of how badly musicians get screwed by the same bloated, Ferengi-like entities that now want to screw over Napster, MP3.com, and any other damn thing that gets in their way.

And she's even read Snow Crash, too, or at least part of it...

Electric Minds - virtual community since 1996. http://www.electricminds.org

Re: This is the clearest explanation I'... (4.00 / 1) (#30)
by sugarman on Wed Jun 14, 2000 at 09:18:51 PM EST

Yeah, I dug the Snow Crash reference, but I was a little confused on the Avatar reference when she addressed Steve Case. I figured it was a shot at Gibson's "Idoru", but I;m not sure.

Anyhoo, good article overall. Really powerful.

Apologies for my commentary not being more cogent, but the article sez it all. When the truth is revealed, all we can comment on is the minutia. --sugarman--
[ Parent ]

Enough Napster stories for one life... (2.00 / 1) (#4)
by inspire on Wed Jun 14, 2000 at 01:46:39 PM EST

inspire voted -1 on this story.

Enough Napster stories for one lifetime, thanks.
What is the helix?

mlp... (1.00 / 1) (#9)
by slycer on Wed Jun 14, 2000 at 01:47:24 PM EST

slycer voted -1 on this story.


(-1) yet another MP3 story (-1) was... (2.00 / 1) (#8)
by Decklin Foster on Wed Jun 14, 2000 at 01:59:19 PM EST

Decklin Foster voted 1 on this story.

(-1) yet another MP3 story (-1) was on Slashdot (+3) Rock on Ms. Love... ;-)

This is a great article.... (1.00 / 1) (#7)
by hooty on Wed Jun 14, 2000 at 02:14:29 PM EST

hooty voted 1 on this story.

This is a great article.

Holy @#$%^! The gloves come off! I ... (3.00 / 1) (#1)
by Skippy on Wed Jun 14, 2000 at 02:39:05 PM EST

Skippy voted 1 on this story.

Holy @#$%^! The gloves come off! I don't care one way or another about Courtney Love's music, but after today, I love her attitude and mind! Tell 'em Courtney!
# I am now finished talking out my ass about things that I am not qualified to discuss. #

This is it in a nutshell. (none / 0) (#41)
by static on Thu Jun 15, 2000 at 11:49:38 PM EST

I'm not fussed by her music, either, but she's clearly not an idiot. I deeply respect that and will defend her intelligence to anyone, whatever else I may think about her.


[ Parent ]

kuro is tech from the trenches, we... (2.00 / 1) (#11)
by yoder on Wed Jun 14, 2000 at 02:39:32 PM EST

yoder voted 1 on this story.

kuro is tech from the trenches, we should hear from the music industry trenches to get both sides.

Holy shit. She says she's "uninfor... (3.00 / 1) (#13)
by freakazoid on Wed Jun 14, 2000 at 02:44:46 PM EST

freakazoid voted 1 on this story.

Holy shit. She says she's "uninformed" when she talks about Napster and Gnutella, but this chick's got her head screwed on straight, and she shows a far deeper understanding of the issues, even those directly related to the Internet, than many of the self-designated "geeks" I know.

this is by far one of the best argu... (3.00 / 1) (#14)
by jasonronbeck on Wed Jun 14, 2000 at 02:46:44 PM EST

jasonronbeck voted 1 on this story.

this is by far one of the best arguments against the major labels and riaa by a record artist that ive ever read... a must-read for anyone who cares at all about the music monolopy.

Oi! Not at all bad.... (2.50 / 2) (#16)
by blixco on Wed Jun 14, 2000 at 03:02:06 PM EST

I like the fact that an artist is finally saying what everyone knows is true: record labels are pirates. I like that she knows what she is talking about. I dislike that she killed kurt Cobain, but what the heck. I'd buy the MP3's I download. I buy the CD's 6 out of 10 times. No problem. As long as the record labels get screwed as many ways as possible and every A&R guy dies homeless, cold, lonely and hungry, I'm fine with anything Ms. Love can come up with. In the end, all that matters is that an artist who is extremely literate is actually speaking the truth. And maybe Lars can just say "Well, uh, it's like, talk to Courtney, ya know?"
The root of the problem has been isolated.
I love Courtney (4.00 / 1) (#17)
by MrEd on Wed Jun 14, 2000 at 03:52:09 PM EST

This girl's got big ovaries... honestly, it takes guts to decide to become a musician rather than something safe and secure like chartered accountancy or being a "Sales Representative". While Lars' interview on /. (no, I'm not going to call it 'that other place') was a valuable window into Metallica's reasons for doing what they're doing, it was pretty much unintelligable. Courtney's piece has been cleaned up a bit (not too much), and is a hell of a lot more accessible to the general public.

Seems to me that it's going to be a bloody hard battle for any of the 'artist-friendly' music companies to get going... The RIAA seem to have a pretty tight stranglehold on meatspace as far as radio coverage and store distribution go.

Watch out for the k5 superiority complex!

K5 superiority complex (3.00 / 1) (#19)
by rusty on Wed Jun 14, 2000 at 04:26:14 PM EST

Ha! I love the .sig. For the record, I think you guys should congratulate yourselves every day for being the coolest readers on the planet. But I wish everyone would stop acting like I have anything to do with the site being what it is. :-)

Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
Re: K5 superiority complex (3.00 / 1) (#20)
by MrEd on Wed Jun 14, 2000 at 04:51:47 PM EST

Hehe - Enjoy it now, before k5 becomes as popular as slashdot and you don't have any time left to read the discussion threads...

But honestly, the way that I found out about this place was through a smarky slashdot poster saying "kuro5hin's had this for weeks now, /. sucks, Rob sucks, blah".

Watch out for the k5 superiority complex!

[ Parent ]
Re: K5 superiority complex (3.00 / 1) (#26)
by rusty on Wed Jun 14, 2000 at 05:57:15 PM EST

It's a dirty little secret of mine (well, it was anyway) that I actually search /. comments for "kuro5hin" from time to time to see what people are saying about us. Those "[Site X] had it first" comments are so pointless though, because they have stuff before we do all the time. That's just the way it is, really-- and I can count the times either of us was actually first with a real news story on two hands. What people don't seem to get is, it doesn't matter who's first with a story. For that matter, it doesn't matter who's first with a dot-com or a market niche or a business plan either. I wish this industry would figure out that it never has, and never will come up with something actually new, and if it ever does, the first ten attempts will fail anyway, and start getting down to the real work of just being *best* at something. We're not there yet, but maybe someday we can say "We weren't the first, but dammit, we sucked less at it than everyone else!"

Anyway, the more superior you act, the more stupid you look when you finally do suck as much as everyone else. Just look at slashdot for proof of that. ;-)

Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

Courtney Love does Steve Albini's math (5.00 / 2) (#18)
by Demona on Wed Jun 14, 2000 at 04:00:28 PM EST

A lot of her arguments, especially the breakdown of profits, appear to be from Steve Albini's The Trouble With Music, or "Some Of Your Friends Are Probably Already This Fucked." I seem to recall she didn't like Steve's treatment of Nirvana's In Utero (production? other?), but she's at least smart enough to know a good argument when she sees it, as well as articulate it reasonably well. And she comes off as someone who actually uses and understands the Internet, as opposed to Lars "I can barely operate AOL" Ulrich.


more a Yellow Machinegun man

'S Good (3.00 / 1) (#21)
by Arkady on Wed Jun 14, 2000 at 04:59:14 PM EST

It's good to see a big name come out and say this stuff in public, certainly. Quite some time ago, and in a bit greater detail, <a href="http://www.thebaffler.com">The Baffler</a> published some material on this topic in an article titles "The Culturetrust Generation". That article is in their collection <u>Commodify Your Dissent</u>, which you should all definitely read.

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere Anarchy is loosed upon the world.

Another comment from me (2.00 / 4) (#22)
by MrEd on Wed Jun 14, 2000 at 05:25:16 PM EST

#include blatantslashdotpostripoff.h

Another take on Courtney's inverview courtesy of 80s.com

Watch out for the k5 superiority complex!

deeply moved (3.00 / 1) (#23)
by wildmage on Wed Jun 14, 2000 at 05:29:24 PM EST

I was deeply moved by this speech. She's taken the common conception of music as a commodity and put it back in its place as an artform. My respect for Courtney has definitely gone up. Wildmage

Jacob Everist
Memoirs of a Mad Scientist
Near-Earth Asteroid Mining

Bringing the artist back to the fans (3.00 / 1) (#24)
by metalgeek on Wed Jun 14, 2000 at 05:33:50 PM EST

I used to/still go to alot of punk/small underground concerts. I'm used to being able to talk to the band after the concert, or going and buying a tshirt from one of the members. I want to be actually able to see who I'm listing to, not have some schmuck dancing around in a video. I want to bring back the artist. bring back the performer. I hate sitting in a seat, 500 feet from the stage, barely being able to see the bands..... Robin

"K5 is a site where users have the motto 'Anyone Who Isn't Me Is An Idiot, And Anyone Who Disagrees With Me Is Gay'." skyknight
Re: Bringing the artist back to the fans (2.00 / 1) (#29)
by Didel on Wed Jun 14, 2000 at 08:18:43 PM EST

and seats 500 feet away from the stage are considered the good seats. heh. Around here, nobody supports local acts, it's really pretty sad.

[ Parent ]
Re: Bringing the artist back to the fans (3.00 / 1) (#33)
by rusty on Thu Jun 15, 2000 at 02:19:17 AM EST

Go check out a band called The Excentrics if they ever swing by you. More alt-rock than punk, but they put on a great show. And, you know, they're nice guys and they're producing my friend's record and stuff. :-) Ok, so it's a plug, but I mean it-- they're a lot of fun to see.

Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
reminiscent... (5.00 / 1) (#25)
by atomly on Wed Jun 14, 2000 at 05:41:55 PM EST

This reminds me a lot of an article by Steve Albini.
-- atomly :: www.atomly.com
the vagaries of fame (4.00 / 1) (#27)
by 3than on Wed Jun 14, 2000 at 06:06:16 PM EST

I was impressed by how clear and articulate her rant was-a world away from Lars Ulrich's wandering(but in some ways no less clarifying)interview at slashdot. I think it will be nearly impossible to sustain the cult of musician-fame of the current sort. Just compare the heroes of the jazz age to the modern pop-hero paradigm-we get by with manufactured star-events instead of players. For me, jazz is what music is all about-endless music, many, many talented but nearly anonymous players.
What I'm getting at is that the whole hyped fame thing will come to an end with the distribution model. Oh, there will always be rock stars-but not the ones that are famous now.
I was thinking about alternate models-it seems to me that here in NYC, the Juilliard school(and others)has a pretty good method for the nurturing and development of musicians. I would love to see non-classical music taken by this university/conservatory model. It's starting with jazz. Unfortunately, that model has its drawbacks as well-institutionalizing classical music has created some issues as well. But it's still a far healthier system than the current cult/gold rush/venture capitalist system that the RIAA represents. The RIAA has violated a lot of trust, laws, and people. They're fighing a battle where every direction leads down, and we're all there to help them on their downward spiral. Let's keep buying cd burners, home recording equipment, and musical instruments. I'm sorry, but I'm a better rock star than at least half of the crap I hear. And so are you.

Re: the vagaries of fame (3.50 / 2) (#28)
by analog on Wed Jun 14, 2000 at 07:36:07 PM EST

I'm sorry, but I'm a better rock star than at least half of the crap I hear. And so are you.

No; I'm not. I'm a lousy rock star. I stand still when I play, I'm not particularly good looking or photogenic, and I don't have a $10,000/day cocaine habit. However, I'm probably a far better musician than the average MTV act.

It may seem pedantic, but the failure of people to know the difference between a 'rock star' and a musician is what has let things go as far down as they have. I know what you meant, though, and I'm in 100% agreement with the sentiment. ;)

[ Parent ]

Gibson's Idoru (none / 0) (#37)
by joeyo on Thu Jun 15, 2000 at 01:07:05 PM EST

If you like cyberpunk and want to read a book which (in part) deals with the Cult of Fame and what the future may hold, check out William Gibson's Idoru


"Give me enough variables to work with, and I can probably do away with the notion of human free will." -- demi
[ Parent ]

Impressive... (1.00 / 1) (#31)
by skim123 on Thu Jun 15, 2000 at 12:33:02 AM EST

Impressive how articulate Courtney Love is. I've always just thought of her as the reason Kurt was dead.

Money is in some respects like fire; it is a very excellent servant but a terrible master.
PT Barnum

Re: Impressive... (3.00 / 1) (#32)
by rusty on Thu Jun 15, 2000 at 02:09:08 AM EST

Not at all. Heroin addiction is the reason Kurt is dead. Don't do drugs.

Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
Aye, St. Nic (none / 0) (#39)
by kmself on Thu Jun 15, 2000 at 04:59:48 PM EST

...'bacco over to you, Rusty.

I'll stick to my drugs of choice -- caffeine and endorphines.

Karsten M. Self
SCO -- backgrounder on Caldera/SCO vs IBM
Support the EFF!!
There is no K5 cabal.
[ Parent ]

And who says you can't have it all? (none / 0) (#43)
by kmself on Fri Jun 16, 2000 at 03:18:18 AM EST

Coffee, sex, health, and cycling. Eureka! I've found it at last!

Karsten M. Self
SCO -- backgrounder on Caldera/SCO vs IBM
Support the EFF!!
There is no K5 cabal.
[ Parent ]

Courtney Love in may have more than one braincell (3.00 / 1) (#34)
by excession on Thu Jun 15, 2000 at 05:27:31 AM EST

I was very impressed by the knowledge Courtney showed about the subject, especially since she referenced Freenet and Gnutella.
I had always assumed that she was a brainless bimbo who'd got where she was on the strength of marrying Kurt Cobain. Clearly I'll have to re-evaluate my opinion...

The evils of the RIAA, MPAA, the homogenization of (5.00 / 1) (#35)
by mcoletti on Thu Jun 15, 2000 at 10:12:00 AM EST

I must confess I had ambivalencies about Courtney. I'm impressed by her acting and like her music; but some of the live concert stuff could get a bit over the top.

All that changed when I read her Salon article.

Here was a compassionate and erudite voice that hit the proverbial nail on the head. She is absolutely correct -- the RIAA and the greedy companies they represent daily rape their indentured servants who squirm under their thumb. They whine about lost profits while shoveling ever increasing profits into their coffers. Fortunately more are becoming enlightened to this apparent hypocrisy. You go, grrl.

As an aside, the RIAA's evil twin, the MPAA, is doing the same thing with regards to DVDs. They cry that DeCSS, which is software that bypasses DVD encryption, will hemorrhage their profits as alleged legions of pirates freely swap films siphoned from their discs. This is, of course, so much steaming bovine feces.

The issue there is a variation on the RIAA theme. It's all about control, boys and girls. There's no piracy of DVD films. None. Zippo. Nada. First, blank CDs are more expensive than just buying the damned originals. (Courtesy of a "tax" to recoup alleged losses due to piracy. Guess what? You pay the same kind of "tax" on all blank cassettes. Yes, it pissed me off, too.) Second, blanks have certain sectors over-written to prevent bitwise copies. No, the real issue is that the MPAA and the DVD consortium wants to insure that you buy a DVD player that's been manufactured by a company that's agreed to pay their usurious licensing fees. If any ole DVD player that doesn't have the right codecs can read their DVDs, then who needs to pay Da Man?

And then there's radio.

I live near Washington, D.C. The radio landscape here makes the Gobi seem a verdant, tropical paradise by comparison. It's bleak. And it's a god damned shame that this is our capital, and I can get naught but the same crap from station to station. I can't count the times I've skipped through channels to hear the same tunes. It's all homogenized shite some algorithm on a corporate computer somewhere decided that a certain demographic wanted to hear. Play lists are digested by a data mining program, tune fitness weights are adjusted based on popularity and air times, and new play lists are disgorged to corporate affiliates around the country. And since people only hear what the stations want them to hear, they miss out on glorious music that might be happening just down the street. They perpetuate this insipid feedback by requesting from only those tunes they hear. And so the magic music shite circle spins again.

I miss WRAS, Album 88, which is a college radio station in Atlanta. The DJs there aren't on some pay-roll. The only algorithm they use is the one percolating away between their ears. Some of the stuff they play is ... dubious. But that is refreshing because it is different, and the artist played because they loved it. They played from their soul.

(Damn, I wish they'd get a shoutcast or realaudio server up. I pester them about it annually. Which reminds me, they're about do for this year's pestering.)

And that brings me to some solutions.

Thank Ghod for shoutcast. I tune my mp3 player to a decent techno beat bleating from half a continent away, and sliiide back into the groove. No commercials. No palp. No stupid talking heads. Just what some joker threw together on his machine. You know, stuff he liked and thought that other folks would like, too.

Didn't radio station DJs used to be that way? I've even heard legend of some showing up with their own records.

Too bad you can't listen these internet stations on the road. Fortunately, you can get an mp3 car stereo, though they're a bit pricey. But you can always rely on one aspect of technology -- the price always comes down.

Back to the RIAA debacle.

The musician and fan revolt is flaring up in myriad forms. Napster, gnutella, freenet, and mp3.com are obviously on the front-lines. But I recently was made aware of OrangeAlley. These guys are trying out something that's unique. And I wish it wasn't. We need more of these kinds of sites.

These guys are trying another way to bypass the greedy corporate basterds. The idea is simple. An artist sends OrangeAlley mp3s of their stuff and it's added to the site. You listen to a sample. You like. You buy the track for 99 cents. And MOST of the money goes direct to the artist.

I like this idea. I like this idea muchly.

I've already spent a couple greenbacks on some tracks. Yeah, I could probably bum 'em off of Napster. But why bother? I like the idea that I'm directly supporting the musician. With each buck I'm sending a personal, "Hi! I listen to and enjoy your stuff. Please keep up the good work."

What's also hella keww is that the artist is notified of the particulars of each purchase. This means that musicians can directly get in touch with everyone that bought their music. This, I feel, can only do good.


MAC -- Diagonally parked in a parallel universe.

college radio (none / 0) (#42)
by Y on Fri Jun 16, 2000 at 01:00:24 AM EST

I don't know how this will stack up against WRAS, but check out www.ktru.org under real audio. KTRU tries to play underexposed music, and although this summer seems like there's been too much indie grrl rock on the station, you should definitely check out the specialty shows. I highly recommend the hip hop and the MK Ultra (electronica/techno) shows, which are Tues, 9-11 pm, and Fri, 10pm-1am, respectively. Times for other shows are on the website, and are for the US Central time zone.

I agree with the Gobi analogy, although here in Houston, I might liken it to Arrakis. Our "new music alternative" station is going under. This does not cause me any amount of grief, as it is really a Top 40 rock station (as opposed to plain ol' Top 40 teenybopper fodder) that sports a playlist the size of your average CD collection. It's hardly new music when Eve 6's lyrically profound masterpiece, "Inside Out," stays on heavy rotation for more than two years. The thing that bugs me is when these stations leave the airwaves, nothing better comes in to take its place, or if something better does step in, it slowly degrades until it becomes easy listening or gets bought out again.

My two cents, anyway.

[ Parent ]
"dot-communist": the next "hacker&q (4.00 / 1) (#38)
by eann on Thu Jun 15, 2000 at 03:42:16 PM EST

I really liked most of this article. But there are a couple spots in it that make me a little sore, so I need to vent.

"I feel this obscene gold rush greedgreedgreed vibe that bothers me a lot when I talk to dot-com people about all this. ... Maybe you could [compete with A&R guys] a year ago when anything dot-com sounded smarter than the rest of us, but the scam has been uncovered."

The Internet is so much more than dot-com people, no matter what the ubiquitous advertisments may have led you to believe. Many "sucka VCs" do tend to be that way, but the community of people who really get things done looks down on them and much their work as the network equivalent of "Mambo No. 5".

Even though I've made my living doing stuff on the Internet for the last 6 years or so, I'm insulted to be lumped in with these people.

"Artists aren't like you. We go through a creative process that's demented and crazy. There's a lot of soul-searching and turning ourselves inside-out and all kinds of gross stuff that ends up on 'Behind the Music.'"

Okay, sure, it's addressed to Steve Case, and I suspect he's not like me. But these words could easily describe what serious coders go through when we're making new things, not just for the big giants any more but increasingly on our own, for little or no monetary gain. "Computer Science" is a terrible misnomer. Finessing what you want out of a computer is an art, and the mental processes involved are much more like finessing what you want out of a guitar and amp than it is balancing a checkbook or dissecting a frog.

"A lot of people who haven't been around artists very much get really weird when they sit down to lunch with us."

I rest my case. :)

Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men. —MLK

$email =~ s/0/o/; # The K5 cabal is out to get you.

It's amazing (1.00 / 3) (#40)
by Anonymous Hero on Thu Jun 15, 2000 at 07:36:02 PM EST

Have your husband killed one day, and you're a celebrity the next. Gotta love this business.

Courtney Love talks straight about piracy | 43 comments (43 topical, 0 editorial, 0 hidden)
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